What is a Creative Technologist and Why do Studios Want One?

During my interactions with aspiring developers and engineers, I frequently sense they are deeply intrigued by the title of Creative Technologist. I often face questions about what a creative technologist does, why studios are increasingly placing greater value on the ‘creative’ aspect of a highly technical job, and what it takes to stand out in a crowd of ‘techies’.

Here are some answers.

What does a Creative Technologist do?

Well, as they say, the answer lies within the question itself. A creative technologist is a technology professional who knows that if a technology-based solution is not intuitive, interactive and inspiring, it is of little use to anyone. Therefore, he or she considers development not just a technical process but also a creative one.

Developing film technology, in particular, necessitates this mindset.

A creative tech lead leverages technology to bring design to life, inspires people to innovate and never underestimates or sidelines the artistic vision of the creative team. This is someone who realized early on that to stand out in a sea of developers and engineers, they must aspire to grow into a leader who shapes technology to drive the creative process and the business forward.

Why is this role so important in shaping technology for a studio?

Studios are increasingly acknowledging the value a seasoned creative tech leader adds to studio workflows and execution of projects. Studios are keen to invest in the expertise of a creative technologist who can leverage design and technology to deliver outstanding work in an increasingly competitive environment, which, you will agree, is the single most important measure of a studio’s success today.

A seasoned creative technologist is excellent at driving business through innovation and possesses the latest know-how of current and emerging technologies in their field. The film studios that consistently produce exceptional work are the ones where developers are able to successfully transform the filmmaker’s creative vision into {virtual} reality. Since a creative technologist has extensive experience both on the creative side of film production and development, they lead and connect both teams.

In the 10+ years I have spent building studios from the ground up and working with some of the best VFX studios in New York and San Francisco, I know that creative and tech can no longer afford to work in isolation.

To sum up, my two cents for all you aspiring developers out there:

Learn to look at the larger picture. Learn to embrace both creativity and technology. Be involved in the entire process of the studio, stay up-to-date with the latest trends in technology, and, never stop innovating.

Remember: Anybody can follow instructions and ‘do their job’, but only a select few can create magic, and magic is what a creative technologist worth their salt aims for, no matter how big or small the setup.